Walking to work and scones are the themes of this entry.

As I write this blog on Friday afternoon, my thighs are burning.  From exertion and also from coming in from the cool December air.
This morning, I completed a goal that has been bouncing around in my head for a few years: I walked to work.

From my home to the Crazy 8 Barn & Garden, it is a little under 12 km.
This is not an insurmountable distance by any means, but it was into the wind, if not uphill.
The scenery was agricultural bland with snippets of Lake Erie on the horizon as I walked along the shoulder of Talbot Trail (Highway 3).
It took me three hours with a couple of stops:
One to chat with the neighbour for a few minutes, just after I had left home;
and when I was nearing the barn, a friend pulled her car over. She was on her way to drop off shortbread cookies to me and some other friends.
As I stood on the roadside, with a couple of kilometres to go, she showed me the nicely wrapped bag of homemade cranberry shortbread cookies.
“Put them in the mailbox at the Crazy 8 Barn and I’ll get them there.”
“Ok,” she said with a smile.
Then I realized my folly.
“No, no, give them to me.”  I reached for the cheerfully wrapped bundle. “I’ve just eaten my last gummy bear.”
I’m not sure if I said thank you.
But I was grateful.
As she drove away, I knew that I would make it.
I untied the the ribbon, and smooshed the bottom of the bag into my pocket, leaving the top open for easy access.  On the shoulder of the road, I ate three of the cookies and I could feel the muscle tension in my hips melting away like the butter of these tasty treats.
I pushed on.
The distance disappeared and soon I was in my parking lot.
Mission accomplished and with four shortbread cookies left.


P.S. If you have a little goal nagging in your brain, tackle it before the end of the year.  You will feel great.

Oriole & Blossoms

Barn Quilt

The vibrancy of this barn quilt block can change in many ways.  The Blossoms can be any colour and you can substitute the oriole with your favourite bird.  I donated this barn quilt to the Orford-Highgate Fair where they auctioned it during their popular pie auction in September.  Our MP David Epp was the lucky purchaser of this Oriole & Blossoms Barn quilt.  Click here if you would like to see the original pattern. The flower pattern is a six row grid with the bird in the centre drawn on its own five row grid.

A Siege of Bitterns
by Steve Burrows

I discovered this book last week at Turns and Tales  in Chatham.  I hesitate to tell you that they had others in this Canadian author’s series as I hope to get back there myself.  Oh well, first come, first served.
I do love a good police procedural mystery and this one was billed as a “Birder Murder Mystery”.  It is also wonderful to hear the specific terms for flocks of each type of bird.

Burrows has used the terminology for all the subsequent titles in this series.
This first book introduces Inspector Dominic Jejeune a transplanted Canadian detective now living in Norfolk County, England.
Jejeune arrives at a new posting in the heart of the best birding area of Britian to find a local birding celebrity has been murdered.
As we become familiar with Jejeune and his team, we are also introduced, quite gently, to the birding world.
And if you are from southwestern Ontario, you won’t mind that the names of Point Pelee and Rondeau are dropped into the narrative.
I can’t wait to read the next book in the series by Stephen Burrows – A Pitying of Doves
As always, I encourage you to buy your books from an Independent Bookstore or borrow from your local library.  Both are great ways to support authors and your local community.


Our handmade scones are a popular treat during our Barn Quilt Experiences.  You can add almost anything to the scones from frozen berries to cheese and bacon. Just remember not to add too many berries as they tend to add moisture to the scone batter and take longer to bake.
If you like to do things ahead, combine the dry ingredients and the butter and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for as along as the best before date on the butter.
When ready to bake, add the remainder of the ingredients to complete the dough.Ingredients
Pre heat oven to 400F.
If at all possible weigh your ingredients with a kitchen scale. I have included standard measures but results may not be consistent.
20 oz. all purpose flour (4 cups)
8 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
184 grams of cold butter (3/4 cup)
1 1/3 cup half and half cream
2 eggs.
Mix dry ingredients and then cut in cold butter with a pastry cutter or two knives until mixture resembles pea-sized crumbs.  If doing ahead, place in an air tight container and store in refrigerator.
When ready to make dough, mix cream and two eggs well. Place container in refrigerator.
Prepare baking sheet with a piece of parchment.
Prepare dough rolling area by lightly flouring the surface.
Set aside 1/4 cup of egg and cream mixture.
Mix butter and dry ingredients with remainder of cream and eggs.
Stir until all flour is moist but don’t over work dough.
At this point if you want to make two different flavours of dough, split in half into separate bowls.  Add up to one cup of flavouring ingredients in each bowl.  If adding frozen berries and when rolling dough.
Put one half of dough in refrigerator.
Knead the other half, by folding dough in halves, a few times.
If using, add a few berries into each halve as you fold it over. Try not to mash the berries too much.
On floured surface, roll dough out to one inch thickness.  Cut with 3″ diameter cutter.
Gently reroll and cut until all dough is used.
Place scones on baking sheet.  Place in freezer or frig until you have rolled out the other half of the dough and made the scones.
Put both baking sheets side by side in oven. Bake for 12-14 minutes.  If scones look like they need more time, turn off oven heat and leave in closed oven for 5 minutes.  This will continue baking, but bottom of scones won’t burn.
As scones get close to done, keep an eye on them as the bottoms can burn easily.
Eat fresh out of the oven or once cooled, they can be wrapped and frozen.
Day old scones can be made fresh by popping one in the microwave for 15 seconds.